Fascinating People

Tomasz Beer

Seems like every time Dr. Tomasz Beer answers the phone, someone wants to talk about prostates.

It’s no mystery, really. Beer, assistant professor of medicine and oncologist at Oregon Health & Science University’s Cancer Institute, is an expert in prostate cancer, having devoted himself to researching ways to prevent it, ways to stop it.

It was his research earlier this year that resulted in a breakthrough discovery: A new dosing routine using vitamin D in combination with chemotherapy was shown to slow the disease in advanced cases.

Beer is currently studying whether acupuncture can ease hot flashes in cancer patients.

Beer, who was originally from Poland but came to the U.S. at age 13, says he chose the specialty about seven years ago when he realized how little research had been devoted to it, especially in comparison to breast cancer, which benefited from heavy advocacy. He surmises that prostate cancer had been neglected because, “Men don’t like to talk about it.”

But the willingness of famous men—Bob Dole and Rudy Giuliani are two—to talk of their struggle with prostate cancer “convinced men they ought to pay attention to their own health,” Beer says.

The timing is right. The baby boomer population is aging, making it likely that the incidence of prostate cancer will rise more rapidly.

Beer’s chosen specialty has made him a go-to guy in his field. He has published more than 50 articles on the subject—an activity he wedges between lab time, teaching time and seeing some 50 patients per week.

How does he handle the stress? Answer: He doesn’t try. “I thrive on it…I get restless when there aren’t five or six things going on at the same time,” he says.

Not to say he doesn’t have time for a little light reading. His “for fun” preference is political history. And he makes time for his family. “I get home every night at 6:30 because I’ve got two little girls to see.”

Katherine Martin

“I found it debilitating to be in Los Angeles,” says Katherine Martin about her more than decade-long Hollywood screenwriting career. Even though Martin has seen two of her scripts become movies, including one by Showtime, she wanted out. And that’s when she launched her book series, “People Who Dare.”

These books were “my way to recapture who I am,” says Martin. In ’99 the first of the series, “Women of Courage,” was published the Bay area’s New World Library publishing house. “Women of Courage” has now sold 35,000 copies. “They are stories about women told in the first person—from two paragraphs to twenty pages—in an emotionally intimate way.”

Two years later, Martin followed on the success of “Women of Courage” with the sequel “Women of Spirit.” Throughout the two volumes, a number of famous women have used Martin’s pages to give intimate accounts of their life struggles, including Isabel Allende, Judy Collins, Geraldine Ferraro, Judith Light, Patty Murray and Dana Reeve.

Stories of famous women draw readers to Martin’s work—“the headline stuff,” as she says. Example: Ann Bancroft who, with Norwegian explorer Liv Arnesen, in February of ’01 became the first women to ski and sail across the Antarctica. That’s the headline stuff, but Martin is taken in perhaps more by what she sees as the “quieter and quieter courage.” One of those struggles that Martin captured was in her first volume—the story of the founder of Portland’s McCoy Academy, Becky Black.

This fall Martin will publish her third volume in the series, and this time she will do more narrative and her subjects will be men as well as women. “I didn’t expect men to be the same way as women,” says Martin about their emotional availability. “I went into it with an attitude, but every single one of the men was so inspiring to me as well.” Martin’s books are also performed on stage to sold-out audiences.

Mark “Red” Scott

Mark “Red” Scott was an uninspired student, preferring to spend his afternoons on a skateboard and his nights building ramps on various business properties under the cover of darkness—the kind of hobby that required a lookout. Certainly, it didn’t appear as if Scott had much of a future.

But ten years later, Scott is the head of Dreamworks Skateparks, a Portland company credited with building the “gnarliest park in America” in Lincoln City, a company that is being mobbed with orders from all over the world. This, Scott says, after years of living thin: “no money, no credit” and “living in a trailer.”

This summer alone, the company will build eight parks, including several in Arkansas and Louisiana and one in Bologna, Italy.

What will they be like? Scott says he doesn’t know. The finished parks—the glass- smooth combinations of curved walls, ripples and pipes and cradles—never turn out the way they are drawn on paper because so much changes as the building goes on and inspiration takes hold. “You don’t know how it’s going to look until it’s done. Until you’re skating it yourself—you can feel it rather than see it.”

Scott still had time this year to work on his own skating—he still performs professionally.

While Scott is known nationwide as a professional skater and now as a skatepark developer, most folks don’t see him in his favorite role: as a dad. The gnarliest guy in the industry, it turns out, just likes to “take my kids to the beach.”

And when he comes home, he comes to a house on the Oregon coast with seven acres around it. No more trailer living.

“I thought I was going to be washed up at 30,” he muses. “Guess that didn’t pan out.”

LaDandreca Preston

Everybody knows that life’s not fair; the playing field isn’t always even. Nobody knows it better than LaDandreca Preston. But thanks to a boost from her special “friends,” the hard realities of life didn’t get in her way or diminish her goals for the future.

Everybody deserves at least one good break in life, and for LaDandreca that break was her first friend, Jackie—from the Friends of the Children program in Portland.

Founded locally in 1993 by Duncan Campbell, Friends of the Children-Portland selected Preston as a first participant that year. Now, a decade later, Preston is one of the program’s first graduating seniors, and she’s hoping for college admission next fall at Tuskegee University in Alabama to study veterinary medicine.

Ten years ago, that future would have been a bad bet.

Preston, the 5’10” power forward for Benson High’s basketball team, had a rough start in life. “I was bad. When we went on the zoo trip, I had to have my cousin (an adult) go with me because I was just bad,” Preston says in her ‘Friends’ bio. “I used to bite and pinch and fight.” Preston moved briefly to Atlanta, then returned to Portland and to the “Friends.” “Growing up was kind of hard. I’ve been in foster care since freshman year,” says Preston. “I lived with my grandma til eighth grade when she passed. Then I tried living with my cousins, but that didn’t work. I figured it could be me…my attitude. So now I’m in foster care and it’s good.”

Preston also says that getting her new friend, Dionne, made a big difference. “She let me come back as an older student. She’s very supportive, very kind-hearted. She comes to my basketball games, picks me up after practice, gets me something to eat.”

Preston says when she was young it was hard to understand the value of an adult mentor. But she says, “You grow. And now that I’m 18, I look back and I see the other kids who have grown.”

Thanks to her adult friends, today Preston’s concerns are more typical of a teenager with a good shot at a bright future. She waits anxiously for word on both college admission and financial aid. She worries about retaking her SATs to improve her scores. And she worries about her final semester grades. “I’ve got senioritis,” she admits, “but I know I can do better.”

Ten years of friendship later, that’s a very good bet.

Dan McWilliams

Heterosexual…Ad Agency Owner…Republican…Artist.

Oxymorons everywhere. How does all that add up? It adds up in a unique way for Dan McWilliams, owner for the last 32 years of McWilliams and Company, a Portland advertising agency.

When McWilliams isn’t advising high profile clients on ad placements, he’s painting…painting 35-40 hours a week–in the mornings before work and on weekends. His work has been shown at Gallery 33, at the Charlie White Gallery, and overseas in the Netherlands. It’s not uncommon for a McWilliams painting to sell for five figures.

McWilliams studied painting during the early 1960s in the south of Spain at the Universidad De Sevilla. After studying in Europe, he returned to America to serve in the armed forces, attend law school, work as a newspaper reporter, and enter the advertising world. But along the way he’s painted full time. “It’s like I live two lives,” says McWilliams.

McWilliams describes his own work as “asbstract impressionism and ultimately the abstract colorist work of today.” If his paintings bear some resemblance to Jackson Pollock’s work it might be due to a conversation McWilliams and Pollock had in Carmel during the 1950s. “I asked him what do you do when you make a mistake. He said, ‘you exploit the mistake.’ As a kid I thought he was screwed up, but now I know he knew what he was doing.”

McWilliams only takes comparisons between his work and others so far. “I like to think that I have my own technique.”

What drives McWilliams to live two lives and to work 80-90 hours a week? “I’m driven to do it. One of the times when I feel anxious, that something is missing, is when I haven’t painted for a week or so.”

As for the painter’s politics? He keeps a lifesize cardboard portrait of General George Patton by his desk–you might say it drives away the bureaucrats. “My political friends say to me, how can you paint like this and vote like you do? But I remind them that DaVinci, Michelangelo, Rueben, Goya and Picasso weren’t much in the way of liberals.”

Donna Woolley

In 1970, after more than two decades of marriage, and while still a relatively young woman, Donna Woolley lost her husband Harold. His death, at the age of 58, shoved the Douglas county native out front in the business world, running the substantial family company. She also had another job, mother to Daniel, Debra and Donald Woolley. The early death of her husband was something she shared in common with her friend, Columbia Sportswear’s Gert Boyle.

The company that Woolley heads, Eagle’s View Management Co., has done, as she might put it, “quite well in the last three decades.” And the success of her company has given Woolley the time and leverage to become one of Oregon’s leading philanthropists—just possibly the state’s leading female philanthropist.

She has served on the boards of four different Oregon universities and colleges (Linfield, Univ. of Oregon, Marylhurst, and Umpqua Community College), and on the board of Eugene’s Sacred Heart Hospital. Through business, she’s done extensive service on the board of Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) and the Oregon Forest Industry Council. Remarkably, she and her late husband Harold are also members of The Oregon Sports Hall of Fame (they were inducted the same year as Nike’s Phil Knight), having sponsored the national champion 1958 semi-pro baseball team, the Drain Black Sox.

While softspoken, Woolley has a keen eye for people and a sharp instinct for business that has made her a formidable contributor to Oregon. That’s one of the reasons Woolley was selected to serve on the board and later chair the Oregon Community Foundation, an organization of private foundations that donates millions each year to statewide charities and to help Oregon cities and towns finance community projects.

Woolley remembers fondly her ten years with the Oregon Community Foundation and her work with executive director, Greg Chaille. “It was a great opportunity to meet the people of Oregon--those who care about Oregon, and those who produce for Oregon. I met a lot of great people, people I normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet. We touched a lot of lives.” The work included helping remodel theatres and libraries in Astoria, Newport, Medford, LaGrande, and Klamath Falls.

Asked to name one of her favorite projects, Woolley answers, “The remodeling of the Ginger Rogers Theatre in Medford.”

S. Renee Mitchell

Laying down the law is never easy. Especially in a city that spent the ‘90s like the Greek god, Narcissus, falling in love with itself–that city being Portland. If you take the time to notice, you can’t help but see the place falling apart. For the last five years, Oregonian city columnist S. Renee Mitchell has noticed and has been busy shaking the city up and out of its narrow self-absorption.

Of course, Mitchell wouldn’t put it that way. In describing her work she says: “My objective is to remind readers that Democracy is still an ideal. It takes folks paying attention for it to really work the way it was intended. People who think their civic duty is over after the election are naïve. We keep pretending that our politicians operate by the golden rule, when it’s really more what Charles Jordan likes to say: ‘Those who have the gold make the rules.’”

That’s Mitchell in theory, but in practice it can have a more “new sheriff in town” tone: This from a March 1 column about the Portland Public School district: “The district– which has faced seven years of declining enrollment–thinks it can hide its flaws in a pretty package…on these eight pages, multiculturalism is celebrated with pictures of smiling beautiful children…the wording is encouraging and forward-looking… The mailing tells you that the school district–as a whole–is meeting the state’s yearly progress goals… But statistics can be interpreted with more spin than a Maytag washer. Because if you look at the districtwide dropout number, including the community-based alternative high schools, Portland’s rate is the highest of any Oregon school district’s.”

And Mitchell on Dianne Linn: “Voters owe Linn a reality check, topped with a healthy sprinkling of actual, real true accountability. When it comes to her political future, there should be no Get Out of The Wapato Jail Free Card.” And that’s before Dianne Linn issued gay marriage licenses.

And yet this city reporter has another dimension to her. A softer one. She’s a published poet:


I was in the middle
Of eight children And a miscarriage
Who all fell out of her belly
During nine years of pregnancy
Until the annual churning stopped
With a fat baby we called Ken-nuff
For our simple minds to enunciate

I was The Good One
The child who cheerfully swept the floors
Dried the dishes, washed the walls
And asked if I could help fold the clothes
Cause I like the way
The towels and cotton sheets
Felt fresh out of the dryer

But one day
When I got tired of meeting expectations
I was called into her bedroom
Where I sat in her oversized rocker
And sulked in defiant silence
You don’t need to act this way, she told me
The other kids need my attention more
Cause they don’t listen like you do
You’re my sweet kid. My genius child
The one who always makes me proud
My perfect baby who always woke up with a smile
The Good One

I didn’t have the heart to tell her
That it wasn’t fair
That I shouldn’t have to be bad
To steal her attention
And I vowed that day
That my children
— If I ever decided to have any—
Would never get the short end of the attention stick
Just ’cause I was too tired to appreciate
That I never had to use it on them for whippings

Years later, my 5-year-old son
Who slept through the night
At six months old
Who stopped peeing in the bed at age two
The one who cheerfully sweeps the floor
Dries the dishes. Washes the walls And folds the clothes

He asked me the other day
After I tucked him into bed
And kissed him goodnight
Mommy, he says
Why do you give everyone else
All the attention

My heart sank

Twenty five years ago
I had vowed in the rocking chair
To do things differently
This time, unlike the last
A child’s voice was heard

John Tuohey, PhD

They come for answers. What is right? What is wrong? The goal is that they leave with information, balance, justice.

They come to Rev. John Tuohey, the Director of the Center for Health Care Ethics at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. His job is to help resolve the array of medical ethics dilemmas modern medicine continues to raise. The Center offers a faith-based ethics education program for patients, families, health care providers, and ethics scholars throughout the world. Oregon, in the eye of the storm of many such issues, was drawn there most recently by the state’s lone foray into assisted suicide.

Dr. Tuohey, received his PhD from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and worked in Oklahoma and Washington DC before joining the Ethics Center in 1998. Touhey, who published Caring for Persons with AIDS and Cancer in 1988, says that while end-of-life questions often arise, so too do ethical dilemmas about ongoing care.

A typical day for Tuohey might be one or two calls from physicians with ethics questions or calls from family members referred by hospital staff or the Center’s website. And most days include an education session with staff members to troubleshoot potential issues.

And there was this case. “The FBI called saying, ‘We know you can’t tell us, so we’ll tell you. You have a patient—he’s in your care—he’s wanted for bank robbery, and we want to arrest him.’” Tuohey says this type of confidentiality dilemma has become more common with new privacy rules. “We asked the FBI, ‘Is he dangerous to other patients? To society?’ …We’re not the police, but there are other issues.” “When people think ethics,” says Tuohey, “they think right and wrong, that we’re the people who will say, ‘Do this, or do that.’ We have our principles, but usually there are a lot of issues to sort out. People can’t get everything they want. We sort out the different interests and come out with the right balance.”

“It’s going to get harder,” says Tuohey, when asked about the future and rising health care costs. “How do you decide who you will care for first? We have an ethics discernment program—once you kind of triage the type of patients, you have to hold the line. But then even after you set up, you have to act it out—that’s real hard to do. At least you can step back and say we thought it through. It’s just. But it’s still hard.”

And the bank robber? “The FBI came in and arrested him the next day.”

Barbara Gaffney

“Don’t take ‘No’ from someone who can’t say ‘Yes,’” Portland-based management consultant, Barbara Gaffney, tells her clients. “Find the person who’s the decision maker and then go and get the ‘Yes.’”

Barbara Gaffney has spent three decades getting people to “Yes,” and because of it she’s made a difference. During the 1970s, as Director of Human Resources, she was in on the ground floor of Intel’s success, helping the Santa Clara, Calif. company achieve its first billion in sales. A decade later, as one of the founding members of Sequent Computers she helped her own company grow to more than a billion in sales, before eventually being sold in ’99 to IBM. All of this achievement in a field not exactly top heavy in females.

While on the front lines of Oregon’s initial high-tech generation, Barbara also found time to raise two children, Brian and Karen, and to get the American public to say “Yes” to the possibilities of what people with handicaps can accomplish. She, along with her husband, Jim Gaffney, and daughter Karen, created the Karen Gaffney Foundation.

Karen Gaffney, in case you don’t remember, is the young woman with Down syndrome who, in the summer of ’02, swam the English Channel with her relay team. The courageous event landed Karen on the Oregonian’s front page for five straight days that July. Today Karen, a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy and Portland Community College, travels the country making personal appearances and giving speeches to help others with handicaps say “Yes.” Amazing accomplishments? Well, she was, as her web site says, “raised in a Portland family that nurtured her fight against a life of dependence.”

Barbara Gaffney is also a member of the board of St. Mary’s Home For Boys where she concentrates part of her efforts on finding innovative ways to help troubled young men enter the workforce. This year she’s also taken a board position with the Oregon Historical Society, just in time for all the excitement of the Lewis & Clark bicentennial celebration. All that energy and optimism. If you look up “Yes” in the dictionary, don’t be surprised if one definition reads, “Barbara Gaffney.”

Alissa Keney-Guyer

Move over Teresa Heinz Kerry. Portland, Oregon has its own international social advocate from a famous American family, and her name is Alissa Keny-Guyer.

Like Teresa Heinz Kerry, Keny-Guyer is the mother of three. For the last two years, Keny-Guyer has been director of Gun Denhart’s Hanna Andersson Children’s Foundation, which donates more than $300,000 annually to programs that help at-risk children. Her husband Neal Keny-Guyer is the CEO of Mercy Corps, the Portland-based international aid agency that gives more than $130 million annually in humanitarian relief to more than 30 nations.

Her father, David Leigh Guyer ran the New York-based Save The Children foundation and her mother, Carol Penney Guyer, was a social advocate in India during the 1950s and marched with Martin Luther King during the ’60s. Her sister, Cynthia Guyer, is executive director of the Portland Schools Foundation. And, by the way, her grandfather was James Cash Penney. You’d probably know him better as J.C. Penney.

Alissa Keny-Guyer began in international relief work in college, on leave from Stanford to work for Oxfam in Indonesia. After college, Keny-Guyer moved to Hawaii and spent her 20s as a public health consultant. But soon her father became ill and retired from Save The Children and she chose to care for him. It was during this time that she and Neal decided to marry. “When my father was ill he went to Atlanta for a Save The Children conference, but he was too sick to get home. Neal brought him back out and I thought it was so nice that he was so caring about someone I loved so much.”

In 1989, Neal and Alissa were married, both quit their jobs and moved to California, where she worked over the next few years for Volunteers for Asia and Neal was “a stay at home dad with our children.” In 1994, Neal Keney-Guyer became CEO of Mercy Corps and the two moved to Portland. Says, Alissa, about their careers, “He went international, and I went domestic. We try to balance each other out, the international work with local community interests.”

Shareef Abdur-Rahim

Before Shareef Abdur-Rahim was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers from the Atlanta Hawks in February of this year, in his seven NBA seasons he never averaged less than 18 points or seven rebounds a game, was never injured or suspended, and has no tattoos. Abdur-Rahim also ranks in the NBA’s top 20 of active players in points, rebounds, free throws, and double-doubles. Yet when the former all-star arrived in Portland, he found his position occupied by third year player Zach Randolph. For the first time in his career, Abdur-Rahim is playing second string. It’s not ideal, but the eight-year veteran with the career 20-point average wants to win, and so for now he’s graciously accepted fewer minutes and fewer shots. We shouldn’t be surprised by the mature attitude—Abdur-Rahim is a serious family man, and very religious person. He’s also a second generation American Muslim.

Abdur-Rahim’s father is an Iman in Atlanta’s Islamic community, and Abdur-Rahim and his sisters were raised in the church. Was it difficult to be a Muslim American after 9/11? “It wasn’t so hard for me,” says Abdur-Rahim, “but overall Muslims caught a lot of flak.”

Have things improved for the American Muslim community? “What came out of it was that more people became educated about Islam. The President saying that 9/11 was not a representation of Islam helped.”

Abdur-Rahim met his wife of four years, Delicia, during his freshmen and only year at UC Berkeley in ’95. “I met her the first month on campus and we’ve been friends ever since.” After Abdur-Rahim left college early for an NBA career (one course at a time, he continues toward his degree), first with the Vancouver Grizzlies and later the Atlanta Hawks, they continued to see each other in the Bay area during the NBA off-season, where Abdur-Rahim would spend his summers with his mother. Today, Delicia is a graduate of Santa Clara Law School and is expecting their second child. She has also converted to Islam. “She learned about the religion from being around me,” he says. But he adds, “I never pressed it on her, she did it on her own.”

Betsy Johnson

It may be off-session time at the Oregon legislature, but you wouldn’t know it looking at Representative Betsy Johnson’s schedule. The Democrat from Scappoose (District 31) is racing all over Oregon, working on as many projects as she can stuff into her life.

And it has always been that way.

Johnson holds degrees in history and law. She’s a licensed commercial pilot. She founded her own helicopter company in 1978, and spent hours piloting researchers in and out of Mount St. Helens after it blew its top. She is a former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She was a founder of the Columbia Technology Center in Washington state and served two terms as a Port of St. Helens Commissioner.

A sampling of her current committee assignments:

• Brand Oregon—marketing Oregon products overseas.
• Tax Reform—addressing Oregon’s tax structure.
• Land Use—updating the state’s land use plan.
• Superfund—cleaning up the Willamette River.
• Lewis and Clark bicentennial team—planning events and park development.

Every assignment—even the bicentennial celebration—is fraught with controversy. Not that Johnson wilts at confrontation. After all, she’s been trained by her mother, who is 90 years old and still politically active. “Now I see her at Christmas and she’s hissing at me across the table, talking about the Legislature and referring to me as ‘you people,’” she says,

More of that is coming: Johnson’s mother has promised to attend one of the tax reform hearings, armed with questions, Johnson says. “There’s nothing like being barbecued alive by your own mother.”

While she has little spare time, Johnson occasionally works an odd hobby: making miniature Christmas trees. “It’s sort of my weird closet thing. I string beads, tie the little satin bows and wrap the little presents…God, now the whole world’s gonna know.”

Stacy Davies

“All true wealth begins with the natural resources of the land,” says Stacy Davies. “All economies are built on the wise use of resources.”

He should know.

Stacy Davies has a lot of responsibility on his 36-year-old shoulders: there’s the 5,000 head of mother cattle, the calves, and the yearlings, 8,000 tons of hay to raise each year, 100 head of horses—a string of 10 for each buckeroo on the ranch, there’s the general upkeep of the 500,000-acre Roaring Springs Ranch in Harney County. And there’s his six sons, from five to 16 years old. Davies and his wife Elaine have managed all of this, and more, for the last seven years.

“I’m on two school boards, the Oregon Rangeland Trust Board, the FFA Advisory Council, the Harney County Planning Commission, and my wife is the 4-H leader and on the school site council.” The Davies boys go to the local K-8 two-room school where all 14 students are boys—no girls live in the area. The older boys go to Crane’s public boarding high school and come home on weekends.

And yes, there is more. Davies also manages another large adjacent ranch, but with the help of a ranch foreman. Davies, a native of Utah, moved to Oregon in 1988. After graduating from a ranch management program at Rick’s College in Rexburg, Idaho, he worked his way up as a cowboy to the top job at Roaring Springs Ranch.

Davies describes Roaring Springs with pride. “Most of the ranch is on the valley floor. Water comes off the mountain and after that there’s miles and miles of sagebrush. The ranch house sits at 4,800 feet—the top of the mountain is at 10,000. Davies says help isn’t hard to find when Harney County’s unemployment rate is 14-15 percent. But in better times, it’s tougher. “Ranch hands are paid $1,000 a month plus room and board. We do a lot of riding. There’s a romance to it—a lot of people want to come and try it, but most don’t stick with it.”

“Roaring Springs cattle are grass-fed until a brief period of grain finishing in Boardman. The meat all goes through Oregon Country Beef, a growing co-op with over 50 ranches. The cattle are raised in a totally natural environment—hormone-free, antibiotic-free. Being environmentally responsible doesn’t cost us money,” says Davies. “It makes financial sense in the long run to be economically, ecologically and socially sustainable. That’s our mission.”

Three years ago, in an effort to protect the ranch, the land and the community, Davies worked alongside traditional foes—well-known preservationist Andy Kerr and Bill Marlett of the Oregon Natural Desert Association—to hammer out the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. “We all agreed we didn’t want to artificially attract mobs of people,” says Davies, who hosted the sessions. “Ranchers knew cooperation was better than being labeled a national monument. So we did what we had to do.”

The agreement fended off monument classification by the Clinton Administration and Int. Sec. Bruce Babbitt. High elevation quality grazing lands were traded for more arid public lands. The plan created 175,000 acres of wilderness, 100,000 acres of which became livestock-free.

“We’d lay awake at night fretting that our home would be in the monument boundary. In other places where monuments were declared, ranches were burned or converted to staff housing. We worried that the director would be sleeping in our home. And as we’ve watched the national monuments, they are as bad or worse than we thought they would be.”

“The agreement was bittersweet,” says Davies. “But the ranch is sustainable. We’re still here; we’re going to be here.”

Davies’ cattle grazed the land for the last time last fall. “To gather those cattle off the high country, to trail them home, and you knew it was the last time it would be done, you just had a sad feeling inside, because it didn’t have to happen.”

Davies now serves on the 12-member Steens Advisory Council, but says the group has been a disappointment, and he points with pride to continuing private accomplishments.

“There are a lot of things we do that make the land and watersheds better.” Davies says the ranch has spent $1.6 million on fish habitat enhancement projects—the .5 million- acre ranch controlled more acres of juniper (an invasive species) than the Burns BLM did on their 5 million acres—the ranch increased nesting of the greater sandhill crane by 171 percent, compared to the nearby Steens Mountain Bird Refuge’s 50 percent rate—and the ranch has a larger wildlife population than nearby Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge.

Would Davies trade all the work and responsibility for an easier job?

“To live this life I love with nature and animals, you sacrifice income. There are days when you get greedy,” he says, “when you think, I’m as smart as that guy—I should be making $200,000. But the only time I really know—well, when you deliver a live calf, or when you sit up on a ridge and watch the sun go down and the antelope play on the valley floor, then I know.”

BrainstormNW - Oct 2003

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